Think before you pop antacid pills, prolonged use may harm kidneys: Report

Think before you pop antacid pills, prolonged use may harm kidneys

New Delhi: If you have a habit of popping antacids pills to treat ‘gas’ and heartburn, think twice before you repeat this easy way to get relief. For, recent global studies suggest that the prolonged usage of widely prescribed anti-acidity pills may be linked to long-term kidney damage, acute renal disease and chronic kidney disease. However, this study has kicked off a fresh debate in the medical community here.

A report in Times of India said through a few initial reports about the association of these drugs — also called PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) — with kidney disease have been published in reputed international medical journals over the last couple of years, it is only now that there are studies suggesting that it’s more serious and linked to both acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.

PPIs is among the top-10 prescribed classes of drugs and are commonly used to treat acid reflux, indigestion and peptic ulcers. Orthopaedicians and cardiologists prescribe PPIs to treat internal medicine and surgery.

The reports said the many physicians, who commonly prescribe antacids, may not be aware of the adverse effects of using this drugs. The reason: The reports were published in reputed international medical journals, which are limited to nephrology journals and seen by only such specialists.

At a recent annual conference of Nephrologists and at an Association of Physicians of India conference the bad effects of antacids were discussed.

A US-based nephrologist, Dr Pradeep Arora, while cautioning about the drug’s risks at the annual conference of the India Society of Nephrology in Delhi recently, said PPIs should be ideally prescribed in the approved indications, if possible for less than eight weeks. “Beyond this, if a patient is on PPIs, kidney function and magnesium levels need monitoring,” he said.

Vijay Kher, chairman, nephrology, at Delhi-based Fortis Escorts, while speaking to TOI, said most patients did not know about side-effects like CKD (chronic kidney disease). He said in the early stages CKD from any cause usually shows no symptom. He, however, added though no advisory had been issued against the medicine and drug regulatory authorities would be informed soon.